Nobody owns a costume cupboard quite like Colleen Atwood. Put it down to her exquisitely regal and dramatic costumes in The Huntsmen: Winter’s War (in cinemas now) or her pre-Harry Potter wizard wardrobe for Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (out November 17). Come May 26, you’ll see her fantastical work in Alice: Through the Looking Glass.
With a list of cinematic credentials as long as a Paris Fashion Week schedule, Atwood has been queen to many a costume sketch for films such as Snow White and The Huntsmen, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Edward Scissorhands, The Silence of the Lambs, The Rum Diary, Gattaca and Little Women. She has also won three Academy Awards for her costumes in Memoirs of a Geisha, Chicago and Tim Burton’s 2010 trippy, imaginative world in Alice In Wonderland. And this year, she’s joined the fantastical-minded Burton again on his Wonderland sequel.
For Atwood, creating magic requires nailing a close collaboration between herself and the hair and makeup team. “Each audience brings their own imagination of reference to what they see, so as designers we have to create a world with which the audience connects,” says Atwood. “They have to believe in the characters and relate to them emotionally.”
Credit: Instagram @thatguy_alex11
The designer says she spent a lot of time researching John Tenniel’s illustrations from Lewis Carrol’s original books. She then studied 80’s Japanese designs, taking special note of their structure and design. “We needed yards and yards of vintage-looking fabric for Alice’s Chinese-influenced costume, but knew we weren’t going to be able to find that anywhere (and even if we did, vintage fabric is very, very fragile),” says Atwood. “So the textile department hand embroidered 70 yards of basic blue silk to create the look we wanted.”
Keep an eye out in the coming month as Atwood takes GRAZIA on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of her costume inspirations for Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Deep and Helena Bonham-Carter.
Alice: Through the Looking Glass is in cinemas May 26.
Cover Image: Disney
Title Image: Disney